Airline food

Snaps from Korean Air’s farm on Jeju Island

Korean Air’s ranch on Jeju Island in Korea produces beef, chicken, vegetables and fruit for some of the meals served to passengers in first and business class. The airline also bottles its own mineral water.

I spent a day on the farm – and at the bottling plant – for a story that will appear later this month on USA TODAY, but sharing some snaps from the day here.

Jedong Ranch started raising livestock in 1973 with imported Angus. Today the herd is roughly 2000 Korean native cattle – Hanwoo – fed with on grass and grain from the ranch.

The ranch also raises about 6000 native chickens, selling fertilized eggs locally and providing chicken for in-flight meals.

Greenhouses on the ranch produce tons of bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and seasonal blueberries.

And the water plant bottles highly-regarded water that has been pumped from an underground well and filtered through basalt and volcanic stone.

Stay tuned fro more pictures and details from y day at the Korean Air ranch.

Southwest Airlines nixes peanuts starting August 1

Giving way to the concerns of passengers who have peanut allergies, Southwest Airlines has announced that, as of August 1, it will stop serving those tiny little packets of peanuts during flights.
“Peanuts forever will be part of Southwest’s history and DNA,” the airline said in a statement, “However, to ensure the best on-board experience for everyone, especially for customers with peanut-related allergies, we’ve made the difficult decision to discontinue serving peanuts on all flights beginning August 1.”
On its website, Southwest has told passengers with peanut allergies that if they made a note in their reservation, an effort would be made to make sure no peanuts would be served on their flights. But that didn’t always work out.
Other airlines stopped serving peanuts long ago, but for Southwest peanuts are part of the company’s branding. The airline is often “nuts” about this or that and has a quarterly newsletter called “In a Nutshell.”
Starting next month, the airline hopes passengers will pleased with the pretzels that continue to be served on flights, along with the other free snacks distributed on longer flights.

“Our ultimate goal is to create an environment where all customers—including those with peanut-related allergies—feel safe and welcome on every Southwest flight,” Southwest said in its statement.

Airline food that’s out of this world

When astronauts do a stint on the International Space Station they may request and bring along “bonus” snacks and meals for special occasions.

This summer, passengers departing on Lufthansa’s long-haul flights from Germany can “Eat like an astronaut” by ordering one of the dishes, Chicken Ragout with Mushrooms, that the airline’s kitchens prepared for German European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, who set out for the International Space Station (ISS) on June 6.

Keeping in mind the special requirements of space food – i.e. that it will be consumed in zero gravity – Lufthansa says its LSG Group Culinary Excellence Team worked with the European Space Agency to provide six special meals for Gerst and the Horizons mission.

“The collection includes typical dishes from the astronaut’s home region, Swabia, such as Maultaschen and Spätzle,” said Lufthansa in a statement, “In order to ensure that the meals fulfilled the specific health and safety requirements of the mission, the LSG Group team designed them as low sodium and able to maintain a shelf life of two years.”

Not flying Lufthansa this summer? Through late October, the business premier menu on Air New Zealand flights from Los Angeles to Auckland will include the popular vegetarian hamburger called the Impossible Burger.

Courtesy Air New Zealand

“Impossible Burger’s magic ingredient is an iron-containing molecule called heme which comes from the roots of soy plants,” notes ANZ, “The heme in the Impossible Burger is the same as the heme found in animal meat. The result is a plant-based burger patty that cooks, smells and tastes like beef but contains no animal products whatsoever.”

Sounds like space food to me.

Travel Tidbits: from United and JetBlue

United Airlines will open its Polaris lounge at San Francisco International Airport (at Gate  G92) on April 30 to passengers traveling in the premium cabin travel.

The two-level, 28,000 square foot lounge has 440 seats, 492 power outlets and USB ports, 5 daybeds with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, 8 shower suites, valets who will steam garments for you, a bistro-like buffet and a restaurant-style dining area.

At the bar, they’ll be serving cocktails inspired by the Bay Area including, says United, the Mai Tai, invented in Oakland in 1944, and the Pisco Punch, “featuring pisco which became all the rage during the California Gold Rush of 1849.”

Not flying through SFO? In addition to this new lounge and the existing one at Chicago O’Hare, United will open Polaris lounges at Newark Liberty International Airport in early June, George Bush Intercontinental in Houston this summer and at Los Angeles International Airport this fall.

United also introduced some food and beverage upgrades for passengers on board.

Starting May 1, pasengers can purchase egg and chicken chorizo tacos (breakfast/$8.99) and barbecue chicken sandwiches (lunch/dinner; $9.99) from the inflight menu and some interesting new beers and ales, including Lagunitas Sumpin’ Easy Ale, New Belgium’s Citradelic Tangerine IPA and, this summer,  Belgian pilsner Stella Artois ($7.99 each). 

For those flying on JetBlue’s Mint flights, be sure to open and take home the limited-edition amenity kit.

In addition to a keeper pair of SuperSoft socks from Basic Outfitters, the kit includes a toothbrush and toothpaste, eye mask, screen wipe, pen, earplugs and pillow pack, and a Hudson Made New York trio of lip salve, facial mist and hand cream – all tucked in a Hayward and Hopper collaboratively designed travel bag inspired by Dennis Hopper and Brooke Hayward’s Los Angeles home circa 1963.

 

Delta brings back main cabin meals

 

Here’s something we hope other airlines rush to follow.

Delta Air Lines is bringing back complimentary meals in the main cabin on some of its longest domestic flights, including transcontinental routes between New York’s JFK and Los Angeles/San Francisco.

Starting March 1, Delta will offer complimentary meals in the Main Cabin on flights between JFK and LAX/SFO.

The following month – starting April  24   –  the airline will expand complimentary meals to 10 other major domestic markets from Seattle, New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. including between BOS/SFO, BOS/LAX, BOS/SEA, DCA/LAX, JFK/PDX, JFK/SAN, JFK/SEA, SEA/FLL, SEA/MCO and SEA/RDU.

Delta has strong competition on many of these routes, so competitors may be be moved to match meal service.

Delta’s  meal options will vary by time of day.

In the morning, Delta says it will offer customers the choice between a Honey Maple Breakfast Sandwich, a Luvo Breakfast Medley or a fruit and cheese plate.

During the day, the choices will be a Mesquite-Smoked Turkey Combo, Luvo Mediterranean Whole Grain Veggie Wrap, or a fruit and cheese plate.

And on overnight flights, passenger will be offered a breakfast bar during the pre-arrival beverage service.

In addition to the Main Cabin meal service, customers seated in Delta Comfort+ will now get a pre-arrival snack basket on all 12 routes, along with complimentary beer, wine and spirits for customers 21+ and a mid-service Greek frozen yogurt bar on flights from JFK to/from LAX and SFO.

The airline says the meal service is part of its ongoing multi-million dollar investment in the on-board customer experience that includes upgraded main cabin snacks, better blankets, refreshed food-for-purchase options, free in-flight entertainment and – for customers on long-haul international flights –  complimentary beer, wine and spirits and sleep kits.